Study suggests metformin may help prevent heart disease

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A commonly prescribed diabetes drug also may have the capability of protecting the heart, according to a Swedish study.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy, in collaboration with a research group from Naples, found that when metformin was prescribed to rats in a preliminary study, the drug also had a protective effect on the heart by helping increase pumping capacity, improving energy balance, reducing the accumulation of fat and limiting the loss of heart cells through programmed cell death. This compared with other animals, which did not experience positive effects on the heart when given metformin.

The study results were published in the journal Diabetes.

"The animals in our study were treated with metformin for a whole year, so the effect seems to persist," said Jörgen Isgaard, the researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy who led the Swedish research group involved in the study. "Our results nevertheless strengthen the indication for metformin as a diabetes medicine and we hope that they are now followed up with studies on actual patients."

Interested in this topic? Sign up for our weekly Collaborative Care e-newsletter.


Leave a Reply

No comments found



COPD Foundation takes over Drive4COPD campaign leadership from BI

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — A nonprofit organization focused on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will take over a COPD awareness campaign from the drug company that started it.

The COPD Foundation said it would lead the Drive4COPD campaign — originally started by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in 2010 to screen people for the disease with the assumption that 24 million Americans may have it but are not aware. BI will continue to provide funding for the program.

"Although we have screened more than 2 million people for risk of COPD to date, there are still many more people to reach," BI VP respiratory marketing Kathleen Dowd said. "That’s why we are pleased to announce that we are transitioning leadership of the Drive4COPD program to the COPD Foundation. This change will enable the campaign to engage broader support and collaboration with more stakeholders."

Interested in this topic? Sign up for our weekly DSN Collaborative Care e-newsletter.


Leave a Reply

No comments found



NACDS, NCPA, nine retail pharmacy companies sue to block ESI-Medco merger

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With as much as two-thirds of retail pharmacy operators’ business tied up in the potential Express Scripts-Medco merger, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association and nine retail pharmacy companies on Thursday filed a lawsuit challenging the merger.

"This proposed merger of Express Scripts and Medco will have dire consequences for retail community pharmacies and their patients," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson shared during a press conference held Thursday at noon. "The PBM companies talk about savings that would result from this proposed merger, but there is no evidence that the merged company would pass any alleged savings on to consumers and employers."

"Community pharmacists are already over a barrel in [negotiating] with PBMs," NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey added. "This merger would send that proverbial barrel straight over the cliff."

According to the suit, a merged Express Scripts-Medco would reduce access and service to patients; reduce competition for PBM services, particularly to large plan sponsors; reduce competition for specialty pharmaceutical services; and reduce competition in mail-order services, allowing the combined entity to raise mail-order prices and drive business to their own mail-order pharmacies regardless of patient preference.

The three largest PBMs manage the lives of more than 90% of the employees working for national employers, noted Don Bell, NACDS SVP and general counsel. "The result will be more power for the PBMs to force patients and plans to use PBM-owned mail-order and [PBM-owned] specialty pharmacies and more power to raise drug costs by forcing patients to use more-expensive brand-name drugs that the manufacturers pay the PBMs to promote."

With regard to specialty drugs, PBMs already help define what is and is not considered a specialty drug, added Jennifer Mallon, NCPA general counsel, a factor that could pull prescriptions that would otherwise be filled in a traditional pharmacy out of that marketplace. Mallon distinguished the two drug groups as "designated specialty drugs" for those medicines defined as specialty drugs by PBMs versus "clinical specialty drugs" identified by a clinical need for special storage, control, security handling or patient monitoring to ensure successful clinical outcomes. "PBMs would be able to leverage their number of controlled lives to … force them into their own proprietary mail/specialty dispensing facilities for drugs that typically retail pharmacies have been able to provide."

This combination will control a large share of the supply line for branded and generic prescription drugs, and thereby will have the ability to raise prices for plans and patients, and limit access to pharmacy patient care. The ESI-Medco combination would cover more than 155 million Americans, or more than half of the U.S. population.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

The nine community pharmacies, representing both chains and independents and all with a presence in Pennsylvania, include Brighton Pharmacy, Hometown Pharmacies, Klingensmith Drug, Kopp Drug, Lech’s Pharmacy Group, Means Lauf Super Drug, Skippack Pharmacy, Thompson Pharmacy and Value Drug Co. Several of the individual pharmacies joining the suit noted that an ESI-Medco merger would comprise as much as 60% of their prescription files today.

According to the group, as many as 76 Congress leaders already have communicated their concerns directly to the FTC and more than 30 state attorneys general actively are investigating the competitive impact of the merger.

Criticism of the merger has come to the forefront in the past week as the FTC nears a decision. Speculation that the merger would receive a favorable decision from the Federal Trade Commission as soon as next week increased following Express Scripts’ Form 8-K filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday that the pharmacy benefit manger expected to close the deal.

The Preserve Community Pharmacy Access NOW! coalition Wednesday afternoon held a press conference making a direct appeal to attorneys general to block the ESI-Medco merger in the courts should the Federal Trade Commission approve the merger.


Leave a Reply

J.Lynch says:
Jan-29-2013 04:46 pm

The service by trained professional's has to be one of the more important issues whether it be a doctor, nurse, or the insurance company itself. For things like finding the best aide personnes handicapées available should be at the top of the priority list and profits put on the back-burner.

Apr-01-2012 11:12 am

If this merger is allowed to go through, the United States should just merge with China. Then last I checked we were not a socialist country. Insurance companies should have never been allowed to become as big as they are today. They are no longer serve the people who pay the premiums, they are only looking ahead to the big dollar sign and how much money the CEO's can walk away with. What ever happened to the laws our founding fathers set forth years ago? Have we become such a greedy society that it no longer matters what is best for the people that are insured, but what is best for the company. I realize that companies have to survive and be competitive, but really, where has the common good gone??

Kwagnride says:
Mar-30-2012 02:08 pm

If this merger goes through it will be another indication that the government does NOT act as it will be saying that they support monopolies, encourage the ousting of small/independent business and the reduction of fair competition.......... SOCIALISM at it's finest!